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Bannister, Michigan is an unincorporated village east of the Maple River. It is part of Elba Township, in southeastern Gratiot County, in the Central Michigan region of the Lower Peninsula.

The main routes through the community are East Wilson Road (Main Street) and South Barry Road (North 1st Street). The village of Elsie is 4.8 miles southeast, and Ashley is 6.5 miles northwest of Bannister. The city of Saginaw is just over forty miles to the northeast.

As an unincorporated community, there are no defined boundaries, but the settlement area commonly known as Bannister is east of the river.

The region upon which the settlement was established was purchased from the government by Asahel M. Bannister in 1881. On February 23, 1883, a post office was established at a grocery store operated by Thomas A. Hanvey, an early settler, who became the first postmaster. Originally, the post office was spelled as Banister, but this was corrected on July 10, 1884. The intention was for the town to be named Maple Bend, for its location near a bend in the Maple River, but the post office objected to the double-worded name, so it was named for the man who had owned the land that the village was built on.

In 1884, the Ann Arbor Railroad extended its tracks through to Bannister, establishing a station there, which helped to promote the town as a market community, as well as serving the agricultural concerns of the surrounding region.

Bannister was platted by Asahel M. Bannister, Benjamin S. Brownell, Thomas A. Hanvey, and Ralph Sutfin on January 10, 1885, and it was surveyed by Asahel Bannister. In 1888, an additional section was added on the southwest, the whole being about a hundred and twenty acres. However, the village was never incorporated. Although the post office and the railroad did much to ensure the viability of the new settlement, Bannister never experienced anything more than moderate growth. The river didn't flow fast enough to provide much in the way of electrical power for industries, but the village supported several types of businesses.

In the early part of the 20th century, Bannister had a small steam sawmill owned by Riley Letts, an elevator owned by the Ithaca Roller Mills Company, and the Alart & McGuire Company operated a cucumber salting station in Ballinger.

A hotel was run by Mrs. Cora Donielson, Roy Whitman operated a livery, and there were blacksmith shops run by Alfred Sutfin and William Marble.

There were several general stores, dry goods stores, and grocery stores, as well as clothing stores, a harness and horse furnishing business, furniture stores, a meat market, and other retail and light manufacturing businesses.

The focus of this category is on the unincorporated community of Bannister, Michigan. Websites discussing the village itself are appropriate here, as are those of local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events.

 

 

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